Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Acro Sport II, ZK-DJK: New Zealand trawler hauls in plane wreck and body

The crew aboard a New Zealand fishing boat on Thursday hauled in a surprising and gruesome catch: a small plane with a body in the wreckage. 

 The crew of the 18.5 metre (61-foot) vessel San Kawhai was trawling for fish when they brought up the plane in the boat’s nets at about 10am, said Trish Sherson, a spokeswoman for fishing company Sanford.

Police said in a statement that fishermen were transporting the wreckage to a bay near Great Barrier Island, about 90 kilometres (56 miles) northeast of Auckland.

Police said they were heading to the scene with a barge to lift the plane.

They said they were contacting the family of missing Auckland pilot Daroish Kraidy about the discovery.

The 53-year-old pilot took off March 25 in a home-built aerobatic biplane from an airport near Auckland.

Rescuers searched for a week but found no trace of Kraidy or his plane.

New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority confirmed Kraidy’s plane was the only one in the country listed as missing.

Kraidy had previously flown in the World Precision Flying Championships.

His ex-wife and daughter told Fairfax Media in May they believed his disappearance was deliberate after he had battled depression for years.

Kraidy’s transponder was switched off soon after takeoff and the plane disappeared from radar screens.

His ex-wife noted some similarities to the disappearance 17 days earlier of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, with 239 passengers on board.

That plane has not been found.

 The plane's wreckage is lifted out of the water.
 Picture: AP 

Daroish Kraidy's plane went missing near the area 

Earlier this year a homebuilt plane piloted by 53-year-old Daroish Kraidy went missing near the area. 

A small plane has been found in the ocean by a fishing trawler near Cape Barrier.

The Police Maritime Unit is heading to Great Barrier Island to meet with the operators of a fishing boat that hauled up the plane in a net when trawling off the island's coast this morning.

The surprising catch was reported to police at about 11.10am.

The Civil Aviation Authority and the New Zealand Rescue Centre have been notified.

Police, who have not released any details of the discovery, expect to be at Great Barrier Island by about 4pm today.

It's unclear what kind of plane it is or how long it's been at sea.

However, earlier this year a homemade bi-plane piloted by 53-year-old Daroish Kraidy went missing near the area. An extensive aerial and sea search failed to find the plane or Mr Kraidy.

It's believed that the plane discovered today contained a body.

Mike Richards of the Civil Aviation Authority said Daroish Kraidy's plane was the only missing plane the he knew of in New Zealand.

"It's an unusual case to say the least."

Police are now in the process of contacting Mr Kraidy's family and close associates.

At the time Mr Kraidy's plane disappeared his brother Deon, who lives in South Africa, described him as a "very experienced" pilot who used to be a jet pilot in the South African air force.

Mr Kraidy had been a pilot for about 35 years, Deon said, and had lived in New Zealand for the past "13 or 14" years. He had represented New Zealand at the Precision Flying World Championships.

Mr Kraidy has a 21-year-old son in New Zealand and a 24-year-old daughter in Australia.

No distress beacon was been activated when the plane went missing.

Trawler operators Sanford declined to comment on the discovery, while Coastguard Northern Region also referred queries to the police.

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New Jersey and New York: Airports set half-year record -- for second straight year

NEWARK — The region's commercial airports set a record for fliers in the first half of the year, breaking the old record set during the same period in 2013, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced.

Newark Liberty, John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia in Queens, Stewart International in upstate New York, and Atlantic City International set a combined all-time record for passenger traffic in the first six months of this year with more than 55.7 million air travelers, or 2 percent more than the previous record set last year, the Port Authority said.

The record first-half volume was attributed to the continued economic recovery, which has driven demand for business and leisure travel.

"We are seeing the results of strong demand for travel from our airports in recent months, despite being constrained by slot limitations," Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye said in a statement, referring to limits on takeoffs and landings per hour imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration to insure safety.

The bi-state agency appears to be having a banner year, at least in terms of passenger and cargo volumes. On Thursday, the agency announced that shipping container volume at the Port of New York and New Jersey had also set a first-half record.

In the cases of both air passengers and shipping, the region broke records despite harsh winter weather that hindered port and airport operations in January and February. Likewise, the first-half performance in 2014 was consistent with long-term growth projections for both air travel and shipping.

The airports in particular rebounded strongly in the second quarter, the Port Authorty said, with a 4.1 percent increase in passenger volume over the second quarter of 2013.

Year-to-date figures through June 30 show John F. Kennedy International handled nearly 25 million passengers, which was up 7.4 percent over 2013 and accounted for most of the overall increase; Newark Liberty handled nearly 17 million, down 0.1 percent from last year's first half; while LaGuardia was roughly flat at just over 13 million passengers.

The much smaller Atlantic City International and Stewart airports, which operate outside the port region by special legislation, also saw volume growth, attributed to expanded service. Atlantic City handled about 600,000 passengers, an 8.8 percent rise, thanks in part to new United Airlines flights to Chicago and Houston; while Stewart, in Newburgh, N.Y., handled 150,000 passengers, a 6.9 percent respectively, also thanks to added flights.

A recent report by the federal Department of Transportation's Inspector General's office criticized the FAA for the slow pace of implementation of the nation's new NextGen air traffic control system, which uses satellite technology to more precisely track aircraft, which proponents say will enhance safety and capacity, while reducing delays.

The Global Gateway Alliance, a Manhattan-based airport advocacy group, seized on today's passenger figures to press the FAA to speed NextGen's implementation and to raise the region's caps on flights.

"Without satellite technology for our skies, New York and New Jersey passengers will continue to experience the worst delays in the country." the group said. And, the group added, "we won’t ultimately be able to meet the demand of the largest and most important airport system in the country. ”

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Deciding on a better way to navigate: Federal Aviation Administration needs to move new system forward

Outdated policies and procedures, insufficient training and a lack of air traffic automation are the reasons Federal Aviation Administration officials have given for airports such as John F. Kennedy not using an updated navigation system more than 1 percent of the time.

Information collected recently from the Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 shows that the airport used the system for only used the new system for 307 of the 29,907 flights that approached JFK between September 2012 and August 2013.

Matthew Hampton, in the Office of Inspector General’s assistant inspector for aviation audits recommended that to get airports to use what is called performance-based navigation that seeks to decrease aircraft noise when planes fly over residential communities and conserve fuel by using the optimal flight path the FAA must dismantle barriers, expedite its implementation process, complete an action plan with deadlines, establish requirements and schedules to ensure future funding requests, and measure that progress.

H. Clayton Foushee, the director of the Office of Audit and Evaluation for the FAA, agreed with all of Hampton’s recommendations. “We will identify work already in progress, and work that may already be completed,” he said in a response statement to Hampton on June 17. “Upon completion of this review, we will determine which actions can be feasibly implemented and document those in the form of an action plan that includes milestones and identifies and assigns responsible and accountable offices and personnel. We will deliver the action plan by December 31, 2014.”

The current system for landing procedures helps in shortening the amount of time planes spend on the runway but isn’t working to address the aircraft noise issues, said Kendall Lampkin, the executive director of the Town-Village Aircraft Safety and Noise Abatement Committee.

Read more here:

Courtesy Office of the Inspector General/FAA 
Reducing airplane noise and conserving fuel is the goal of the Federal Aviation Administration’s updated system that seeks to have aircraft flying on an optimal flight path.

Lawyer Accused of ‘Frivolous’ Filing After Malaysia Airlines Tragedy

A Chicago lawyer who was the first to file a legal petition after the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 in southeast Asia is under investigation after an ethics committee criticized her conduct and called the petition “frivolous” – an allegation she firmly denies. 

 Less than three weeks after Flight 370 disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Beijing, China, in early March, the law firm of attorney Monica Ribbeck Kelly filed a petition for discovery on behalf of 25-year-old Indonesian passenger Firman Siregar, naming Malaysia Airlines and the plane’s manufacturer, Boeing, as initial defendants.

The petition was filed a day after Malaysia’s prime minister controversially told reporters he had concluded that the plane was lost and that there were no survivors. However, today, nearly five months after the plane’s disappearance, still no wreckage or significant evidence has been found to indicate what might have happened to the plane and its passengers. The petition was dismissed, but Kelly says she appealed that decision.

After the petition’s filing, Siregar’s parents quickly said they had not authorized the legal move and claimed that a man the law firm identified as Siregar’s father was actually a distant relative, according a letter that the family sent to the Indonesian Embassy in Malaysia.

Then last week the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee claimed in a complaint that Kelly “has engaged in… conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute…”

“…Respondent [Kelly] alleged that she represented the estate of Firman Chandra Siregar (‘Siregar’), that Siregar had been a passenger on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, that the aircraft had crashed, that Siregar had been killed,” the ethics committee filing says. “Respondent’s allegations… had no basis in fact and were frivolous, because Respondent knew at the time she filed the petition that no evidence had been discovered regarding the location or disposition of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.”

The commission also rapped Kelly for alleging a mechanical malfunction had contributed to the tragedy when committee said there was “no evidence” suggesting such a malfunction.

Kelly has been called to a hearing to answer the commission’s allegations. She told ABC News today that the petition she had filed was hardly frivolous and that she “did nothing wrong.”

“We have been filing these petitions for 15 years,” she said. “I have no idea why the ARDC filed a complaint against me since the case is pending before the appellate court.”

Her attorney, George Collins, said that the ARDC’s action was “unusual” and that Kelly filed the petition in “good faith.”

“The fact is the airplane acted in a manner that could not have occurred without somebody being negligent,” Collins told ABC News. “Somebody wasn’t doing what they were supposed to or some machine on the airplane wasn’t operating correctly. By her discovery petition, [Kelly] seeks to find out who were the manufacturers of the various components of this aircraft so that she can make inquiry of those who might have evidence that could explain this.”

Collins conceded that it’s possible something other than a mechanical malfunction may have brought down the plane – for instance a failed hijacking or pilot suicide – but claimed what little evidence there was about the plane’s extended flight without contact didn’t line up with other popular theories.

Attorney Bob Clifford, whose firm Clifford Law has represented the families of victims in domestic air crashes for decades and is a competitor of Kelly’s, told ABC News he was critical of Kelly’s petition from the start.

“I didn’t think that it comported with the law, but more importantly, I thought it was one of those things that does not serve the families well because it gives them the false hope of believing there’s a meritorious claim when I don’t think the evidence supported that,” Clifford said. “These are the kinds of filings that make lawyers look bad.”

Collins disagreed, saying that it’s a lawyer’s duty to try and recover what he or she can for them.

“I don’t think it’s wrong to say to the person, ‘I will try,’” Collins said. “If a client comes to you with a problem, you have to be truthful with them, but it’s not improper to try.”

Prior to the ethics complaint, ABC News reported in late March, Kelly’s firm, Ribbeck Law Chartered, had been aggressively distributing cards and brochures in Chinese to family members of the passengers – a practice that legal experts said would be illegal in the U.S. due to laws designed to protect families at vulnerable times. The ethics complaint does not mention this purported practice. 

Caesar Sun, a volunteer grief counselor in Beijing, told ABC News in March about the experience of one family member.  "He told me that a lawyer came to him and said, 'You can get a million dollars if the plane was confirmed as crashed. And you have to let us do it... Sign something so we can do it for you,'" Sun said.  

The Ribbeck firm lists its address in a Chicago high-rise, but in March the offices appeared to be empty, supposedly being remodeled, as first reported by The Chicago Tribune
At the time Kelly denied that any of her lawyers had contacted families directly and said that while her firm had signed up dozens of families, all of them had asked her to represent them. 
"It's up to the families," Kelly told ABC News then. "It is ethical and moral.” 
Today Collins reiterated Kelly’s claim that her actions in southeast Asia were above board, saying that all major law firms have ways to reach out to potential clients and in the case of international incidents, American lawyers often “make arrangements” with local attorneys. 
Clifford said that until the remains of the crash are discovered, or new evidence is presented, it will be difficult for the families of victims to claim wrongdoing in American courts. If the plane is never found, Clifford said he could foresee a case to be eventually made against the airline, but it’s difficult: 
“Basically, ‘My father got on your plane and he was alive. He’s now been declared dead and the last person to be in control of his safety was you,’” he said. “I think you’re going to see those fights.” 
An official at the ARDC said that if wrongdoing on an attorney’s part is found during trial, disciplinary action could follow in the form of reprimands, censure, suspensions, or in the most extreme cases, disbarment. The ARDC website shows a pre-hearing conference for Kelly’s case is scheduled for Aug. 26. 
Christine Negroni, author of “Deadly Departure,” is a freelance reporter contributing to ABC News.

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$20 million Redmond Airport runway project set to begin: Roberts Field (KRDM) will reconstruct main runway over two years


A two-year, two-phase project to rebuild the aging main runway at Redmond Municipal Airport is set to begin later this month, officials said Wednesday.

The total cost of the two-phase project is estimated at about $20 million, with the Federal Aviation Administration picking up nearly 94 percent of the cost. The city hopes to receive a Connect Oregon V grant to offset the city's portion of the cost and expects to hear on that in September, officials said.

Here's the full news release from the city:

As part of the City of Redmond’s continuing commitment to provide the highest quality airport facilities and services to the Central Oregon region and its air travel needs, the Redmond Airport will begin a 90-day pavement rehabilitation project to the airport’s primary runway (Runway 4-22) starting on Monday, August 18.

This capital improvement project is intended to help maintain and prolong the useful life of the airport’s pavements.

Typically, asphalt pavements have a lifespan of approximately 20-30 years, depending upon local environmental conditions and pavement management practices. Runway 4-22 was last reconstructed in 1993; this project will extend the pavement life for an additional 20-year period.

The current project is comprised of two phases. Phase 1 is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2014 and consists of the following major project items:

1. Full depth reconstruction of approximately 1,290 feet of Runway 4-22;
2. Construction of precision approach markings and new runway designator numerals (4-22 to 5-23);
3. Construction of runway grooving;
4. Construction of runway drainage improvements;
5. Construction of new high-intensity runway lights;
6. Construction of runway shoulder and runway safety area grading;
7. Updating runway guidance signage and pavement markings associated with the runway designator change from “Runway 4-22” to “Runway 5-23”;
8. Updating runway guidance signage and pavement markings associated with the runway designator change from “Runway 10-28” to “Runway 11-29”; and
9. Reconfiguration of Taxiway “E” markings.

The project was designed by Century West Engineering of Bend. The construction contract for Phase 1 work, in the amount of over $2.633 million was awarded to High Desert Aggregate and Paving of Terrebonne through a competitive bid process.

Phase 2, scheduled for completion in the fall of 2015, will consist of full depth reconstruction of the remaining 5,750 feet of Runway 4-22, runway grooving, runway drainage improvements, high-intensity runway lights, and runway shoulder/runway safety area grading.

Project construction updates will be available on-line at under the News & Media section.

The airport is sensitive to the impact this project may have on our neighbors. This runway closure will require the rerouting of all aircraft arrivals and departures to Runway 10-28 (northwest to southeast) for the duration of the project.

Redmond citizens may notice increased aircraft activity and noise over the city of Redmond while the primary runway is closed.

The airport will work with the airport traffic control tower and aircraft operators to minimize noise impacts to the greatest extent possible. Citizens may contact the Airport at 541-504-3499 or to report noise disturbances.

The Redmond Municipal Airport (Roberts Field - RDM) is the aviation gateway to Central Oregon. Owned and operated by the City of Redmond, the airport offers a full range of general and commercial aviation services. RDM is served by four air carriers; Alaska Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United with 15 daily direct flights to Denver, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Seattle.

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Redmond Municipal Airport 
Major runway rehabilitation project begins in about two weeks, Redmond Airport officials say

Federal Aviation Administration Investigates Southwest Airlines After Stowaway Takes Flight

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Federation Aviation Administration is investigating whether Southwest Airlines violated any federal aviation regulations after a 62-year-old stowaway boarded one of their planes. 

 “Upon arrival in Los Angeles, a Southwest employee became aware of the unticketed passenger and immediately notified local authorities,” said a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines.

Along with the Transportation Security Administration, the FAA are questioning how Marilyn Hartman got past a TSA document checker, then boarded a Southwest Jet without a ticket at San Jose Mineta International Airport.

“I don’t even see how this is possible. I have the TSA pre-check, still you have to show your driver’s license, you have to show your ticket, multiple times, seems like it just seems like it’d be impossible for that to happen,” said businessman Andy Shores, who flies every week.

The flight landed in Los Angeles.

For its part, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said it’s “actively investigating” the incident.

TSA said Hartman did go through the security checkpoint, and did not pose a security threat.

“I think it’s very serious. You should never allow someone onto an airplane who doesn’t have the proper documents to do so,” said former TSA Federal Security Director at Five West Texas Airports, Jim Holden.

The TSA released the following statement:
“Following an initial review by TSA at San Jose International Airport, the agency has initiated minor modifications to the layout of the document checking area to prevent another incident like this one.”

‎ “If it’s happening at one city, it could be more than likely happening somewhere else as well. So this wouldn’t be something they just apply at San Jose Mineta International Airport, it should be something they look at system-wide at TSA,” said Holden.

Authorities said Hartman tried to board six other flights without a boarding pass at other airports earlier this year.

“Six times, really? That’s crazy,” said Shores.

Hartman is in a Los Angeles jail on $500 bail. 

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Commonwealth Ports Authority board member to look into Cape Air’s mechanical problem

Barrie Toves
A board member of the Commonwealth Ports Authority says he will look into the mechanical problems with Cape Air’s aircraft which have been affecting flight service for several weeks now.

Barrie Toves, who represents Rota on the board, said although CPA does not have control over airlines operation, its board can try to find ways to help airlines cope with the challenges they face.

“We will try to see what we can do, maybe meet first with the management and see what’s really going on with their aircraft and why are they having mechanical problems,” Toves said.

“We do understand the concern of the passengers and we need to fix this problem. We want to find out what the problems are that the airline is facing right now,” he added.

“Another issue I will be working on with the board is the improvement of the West Harbor in Rota. We need to develop the facility and I will try to work with all the leaders, talk with them and ask them to come together on the project to develop and improve the harbor.”

Toves was sworn in by Lt. Gov. Jude Hofschneider as a CPA board member yesterday.

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Wheelersburg, Ohio: Tyler Stidham soars into senior year as private pilot

WHEELERSBURG — Tyler Stidham doesn’t just believe he can fly. He really can. At the age of 18, Stidham, who resides in Wheelersburg, recently earned a license to fly an aircraft — an accomplishment that he has invested much time, effort, and money into.

In June of this summer, Tyler Stidham, who turned 18 on Aug. 1, 2014, achieved a goal that he has been working on for the last three years, which is obtaining his private pilots license. The first part of Stidham’s journey began with departure from the Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport, accompanied by his flight instructor, Mike Chasteen, of Chasteen Aviation, Inc. in route to Lancaster, Ohio, where he would take the examination.

“It was fun, my flight instructor and I took off from Portsmouth really early in the morning because I had to be in Lancaster at 9’oclock because there is no designated pilot examiner is what they call it. There is not one around here, and the one that was here, out of Kentucky which would be closer to us was ill,” Stidham said.

After a search, he said they were able to make contact with a designated pilot examiner by the name of Kenneth Ramos out of Lancaster.

“Actually, he is the helicopter pilot for the Columbus Police, and all kinds of different stuff. He was a really nice person,” he said.

According to Stidham, Ramos administered an oral examination before he took the actual flight examination.

“He asked me a series of questions that truly were not hard. I have heard people complain about oral exams, but it really wasn’t bad,” he said. “I didn’t take a written test. I took that about a year ago, and it expires every two years.”

He said the questions from Ramos continued all the way until they boarded the plain for take-off.

“We got into the airplane, turned it on and I gave him a briefing. Pilots are supposed to do a briefing before they take their passengers up. He was very pleased with my briefing,” he said.

Nervousness for Stidham about taking the pilot test was an understatement.

“I was very nervous, and very scared. I didn’t want to fail. Actually, when we landed, I had to ask Mike where we were supposed to go because I was so nervous,” he said.

Having a safe flight was his top priority, as he performed a routine check of the aircraft.

“After that when went down to the run-up area, and tested our engine, and made sure everything was great before we took off. I did everything slowly because I didn’t want to skip anything. I took an extra step of safety for that ride. I take an extra step of safety every flight, but for that one I was really cautious about what I did, because I did not want to skip anything,” he said.

The weather the day of Stidham’s flight was marked by high winds.

“The wind was actually pretty gusty. I typically don’t fly when it is like that, but we were already there, so I decided to fly. We took off and did stalls, s-turns, all types of maneuvers. Then, he pulled the power on the engine and told me when he thought I was able to land that he would put the power back in,” he said.

The final portion of the test involved landing the aircraft safely.

“He told me that he wanted me to do a soft, field landing, and that if I did that in this amount of wind, that we would stop, and he would give me my license,” he said. “He did ask me first if I was comfortable in landing in these types of winds.”

The landing was not smooth, but safe and his mission was accomplished.

“So I landed, and he said, “Okay, you have your license.” “It was a bumpy landing, but Kenny said everything was just fine,” he said.

He said the cost of the test was very costly.

“It was very expensive. The test itself was $350 dollars, plus the airplane rental was another $300. I invested $650 into it, so it was very expensive,” he said.

“I am now licensed to fly a Cessna 172N. I fly that airplane out of our airport, or I can go and rent from another airport and fly it also,” he said. “I will just keep my private pilot’s license until after college, then I will probably go for the commercial license.”

Although he is elated about obtaining his pilot license, he said he endeavors to attend college to study dentistry after completing high school in 2015.

Story and Photo:

Tyler Stidham, 18 years old, of Wheerlersburg earned his private pilots license.

Southern Airways Express: Airline hopes to score touchdown with Southeastern Conference direct flights

DESTIN — Southern Airways Express will launch a new service for this year’s college football season that will offer direct flights from Destin Airport to the games of five SEC teams.

The Memphis-based airline offered limited flights to some Southeastern Conference games last year. This year, the airline will offer game-day flights to five Alabama Crimson Tide games, 10 Auburn Tigers games, four Arkansas Razorbacks games, four Florida Gators games and all 12 of the Ole Miss Rebels’ games.

“This is the college football region,” said Keith Sisson, chief operating officer for Southern Airways Express. “When it comes to game day Saturdays, we all have a religious and yet somehow unhealthy obsession with college football.”

Southern Airways uses nine-seat turboprop Cessna Caravans with luxury executive-style seating for all its flights.

Most of the game-day flights will arrive two hours before kickoff and depart two hours after the end of the game.

“It’s just a very convenient way to see a ball game, yet not have the expense of a hotel room and deal with the traffic,” Sisson said.

Tickets for the flights are on sale now and can be reserved by calling Southern Airway’s call center at 1-800-329-0485. The round-trip fares will begin at $298 per person.

Departure times for the flights have not been set yet and won’t be until the week of the game when the TV schedules are released and the game’s start time is finalized.

“The matchups worked really well,” Sisson said. “You see these license tags everywhere on cars that say ‘A house divided.’ We expect to have a plane divided.

“I really think we’re going to see a lot of the plane divided situations this year because of the matchups and the fan bases that exist on the Emerald Coast for some of these teams that are going to be playing against each other,” he added.

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Sanibel, Florida: Pilot's hobby is no flight of fancy

Eden Roshberg 

Eden Roshberg may be Sanibel's youngest secret. 

The fifth-grader has stepped far outside the circle of boyhood pursuits like chewing bubblegum and chasing snakes, choosing an activity adults would find challenging.

If old enough, the 10-year-old would be a licensed pilot, having accrued 40 hours of flight time in a small Cessna. Sixteen is the legal age for flying solo. He has piloted his parents across the state, jockeyed a space shuttle simulator in east Florida, dreams of designing a plane and flying a commercial airliner, has even been profiled by a Sanibel filmmaker.

He has named his aircraft design and manufacturing company Exsetta because "it sounds cool," he said.

The documentary "Growing Up on Sanibel" premiered at the BIG ARTS cultural complex in April. The 5-minute video of Eden flying a small plane is shown on YouTube. A Fort Myers instructor co-pilots Eden's adventures.

Having time this summer at Cape Canaveral in a space shuttle simulator, he'll have plenty of show-n-tell material upon returning to school in a couple of weeks.

"Flying is fun," said Eden, who turns 11 in October and has worked on his instrument and multi-engine ratings, all nestled atop a packet of pillows to see over the plane's dash. "And the more mature kids understand what I do. The others don't believe me."

Eden was introduced early. He flew as an airline passenger to France at age 2, picturing in his mind crossing the Atlantic "how amazing it was," he said. "And that one day I would be a pilot." That exhilaration was further cemented with a cockpit tour, he said.

By age 9, Eden's parents decided their son's obsession with flight video games and drawings needed a serious outlet. Paul and Valerie Roshberg offered Eden a discovery flight at a Fort Myers flight school. He took to flying like a swift, Paul Roshberg said. Eden in the last year logged enough flight time to qualify as a private pilot. His instructors at Paragon Flight hover as the boy conducts pre-flight checks, taxis, takes off, flies and lands the plane, Paul Roshberg said. Both parents relax in the back seat as their son steers them over Florida.

"We got used to it," said Roshberg, a Sanibel merchant who has stopped rolling his eyes when the curious ask about his son; it's no longer a novelty.

"Eden is not just playing," Valerie Roshberg said of her son. "He's that good, and that serious."

Still, it's difficult to digest a small boy zooming Florida skies at one hundred miles an hour, especially at a first introduction at the family's art and frame shop where Eden has a special corner. He's not short, but not tall, either. You know he can't see without the stacked pillows that sometimes slide as he flies. Time outdoors and his eyes are ringed in white like a sport-fisherman. But it's his presentation that bowls over doubters; very bright, highly personable, polite, a good listener and comfortable inside himself, Eden appears years beyond his age. He shares his passion in drawings and planes he assembles of cardboard. Listeners find themselves nodding in agreement with his ideas, forgetting that his peers are riding bicycles.

He also has a few funny stories to share. In one cross-state flight, the ground crew at a small airport nearly fell over as the boy emerged from the cockpit, he said. They stood in puzzlement because only the pilot's head was above the dash, the adult instructor in full view in the co-pilot's seat, he said.

"They've never seen that before," he said.

Dealing with tower controllers is the one issue that annoys Eden. Most mistake his identity, he said.

"They say 'OK, ma'am,'" he said. "And I say 'excuse me, I'm not a lady, I'm a young man.' Most of them know by now I'm a boy."

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Insurers to Waive Right to Dismiss Claims in Malaysia Airlines Crash: Private Insurance Claims Could Total Tens of Millions of Dollars

The Wall Street Journal
By Jake Maxwell Watts, Celine Fernandez and Robert Wall

Updated Aug. 6, 2014 11:34 a.m. ET

A growing number of insurance companies are promising to waive their right to dismiss claims on the private insurance policies of passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 if the aircraft's crash is deemed to be due to an act of war.

With a potential cost of tens of millions of dollars, the gesture may be an expensive move for an industry already suffering a bad year for aviation claims.

One day after the plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine on July 17, the Dutch association for private insurance companies said its members would waive any exclusion for acts of terrorism or war. The Malaysian association of life-insurance companies followed suit a week later, also saying its member companies won't require death certificates and will speed up claims payments.

General insurance companies in Malaysia, however, said on July 30 that their travel and personal accident policies don't cover acts of war. They haven't collectively announced an intention to waive the clause. Malaysia's general insurance association declined to comment.

Malaysian passengers and crew on board Flight 17 had 95 life insurance policies with payouts that could total around 13.7 million Malaysian ringgit (US$4.3 million), according to the life insurance association in Kuala Lumpur.

The Dutch association said it won't provide such numbers out of respect for the privacy of next-of-kin. An industry specialist estimated the sums covered by Dutch policies could be around €20 million ($26.8 million).

The Netherlands and Malaysia lost the most citizens in the disaster. A total of 196 Dutch people were among the 298 passengers and crew on board. There were 43 Malaysians.

The aircraft's loss coincides with a series of attacks on airports this year and follows the disappearance of another Malaysia Airlines plane in March, all of which has led to worries that aircraft insurance rates may rise.

Among insurers who have decided to waive the clause is the Malaysian branch of AIA Group Ltd.  "The company on an exceptional basis has decided to waive all special restrictions or exclusions for death due to terrorism, war, or warlike situations," AIA Bhd. Chief Executive Bill Lisle told The Wall Street Journal.

Allianz SE's Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty has also decided to waive its act of war clause for health, travel, personal accident and life policies bought by those on board Flight 17 in Malaysia, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

AXA Affin General Insurance Bhd., a joint venture between Affin Holdings Bhd. and France's AXA Group, said it wouldn't comment on policy liability for what it described as its "very few" policyholders on Flight 17. Prudential declined to comment about whether it would waive the act of war clause.

American International Group AIG IG said it is too early to comment on the specifics of the crash. Zurich Insurance didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Allianz SE, the lead reinsurer of the doomed flight, is likely to face a much higher bill from its reinsurance contract with Malaysia Airlines. Under the Montreal Convention, which spells out rules on international air travel, a carrier is automatically liable for up to $170,000 per passenger, or some $50 million for all 283 passengers. Much higher claims can be made if the relatives of victims can make the case the airline could have prevented the accident.

"The airline has the burden of proof to establish that it is free from fault. If it is not free from fault, then it pays 100% of whatever the provable damages are," said Steven Marks, a partner at aviation litigation firm Podhurst Orseck. "I don't see any chance that the airline is going to get any type of protection under Montreal because they will never be able to establish freedom from fault," he said.

The crash hasn't been officially recognized as an act of war. Aviation lawyers agree that while the investigation will be a challenge because of fighting near the crash site, the case is simpler from an insurance perspective than for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing in March and hasn't been found.

Mr. Marks said court cases would most likely be lodged in jurisdictions where the damages are more generous. For Dutch families, that may mean trying to bring their cases outside of the Netherhaldns, where rules are relatively restrictive. Typically, cases are brought in the victim's home country, that of the airline, or where the ticketing transaction occurred.

Some lawyers have already indicated that they intend to take action against the carrier, even though the Boeing 777 was flying at 33,000 feet, in airspace international aviation regulators declared safe. Andy Yong, a lawyer who represents Liew Yau Chee and his wife, Malaysian passengers on Flight 17, says he intends to explore legal options against whoever is responsible for shooting down the aircraft, as well as Malaysia Airlines.

Months may pass before an international team of crash investigators is able to determine conclusively how Flight 17 was brought down. Debris with damage like that from shrapnel has been found on the crash site—evidence that a missile struck the plane. Air-safety officials have said the wreckage may have been contaminated because the site remained unsecured long after the crash.

—Archie van Riemsdijk in the Netherlands contributed to this article.

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Thunderbirds, Golden Knights return for 2014 Thunder Over the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey

ATLANTIC CITY – Atlantic City Airshow, Thunder Over the Boardwalk, the resort’s signature summer event, will include demonstrations by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, parachute flag jump by the U.S. Army Golden Knights and world-class aerobatics teams over the beach and Boardwalk Wednesday, Aug. 13.

Unlike last year, the 12th annual event will include military demonstrations by the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps. Popular civilian acts are also returning.

The Atlantic City Airshow is the largest one-day, midweek, over-the-ocean air show in the country, and is a community partnership between the Greater Atlantic City Chamber, the City of Atlantic City, the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard, South Jersey Transportation Authority, FAA William J. Hughes Tech Center, the Atlantic City International Airport, David Schultz Airshows, LLC, the Atlantic City Alliance, the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and many others.

Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa is the host hotel and Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) is the host airport for the Atlantic City Airshow.

Most of the show performers take off and land via ACY, although the Atlantic City Airshow takes place over the beach and Boardwalk in Atlantic City.

Show day is Wednesday, Aug. 13 from noon to 4 p.m. Visitors might also want to check out the free practice day on Tuesday, Aug. 12 from noon to 3 p.m. Traditionally a popular event, it features a shortened flight schedule and primes smaller audiences before the big day.

For more information on parking and best viewing locations, see

Like the Atlantic City Airshow on Facebook and see performance videos and pilot information at!/AirshowAC

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Community will be able to weigh in on airport change and growth: Aspen-Pitkin County/Sardy Field (KASE), Colorado

The director of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is moving on to another facility, but planning for the future will continue well beyond Jim Elwood’s tenure.

On Tuesday, the outgoing aviation director shared with Pitkin County commissioners the timing of proposed improvements to Sardy Field, which could be phased over the next decade.

Replacing the existing commercial terminal is top priority in the master planning process, and within the next 30 days, a grant application will be submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration that could cover the costs of an environmental assessment. The EA, a required step to gauge a project’s impacts, may take up to two years to complete.

According to JD Ingram of the consulting firm Jviation, the FAA’s ongoing involvement in planning the future of Aspen’s airport will be helpful when competing for grant allocations.

“The FAA makes economic decisions based on priority rankings. When you have the FAA reps themselves at the table, they see the value in it,” Ingram said.

In early 2015, the FAA is scheduled to begin reviewing Sardy Field’s airport layout plan, which could potentially include a new runway design. Elwood said more runway space is needed in the future to accommodate jets with wingspans wider than 95 feet. By 2021, half of the current fleet will be retired, and all of the current commercial jets are to be taken out of service by 2025.

In terms of the proposed timeline for airport improvements, Elwood stressed, “The board and the community control this timeline to the extent they want.”  He also said that a decision to move forward “doesn’t mean we have to build that item.”

That seemed to provide some comfort to Commissioner Rachel Richards.

“Our community, rightfully so, has a lot of concerns about change and growth ... and this ultimately is a lot of change and construction over the next seven or eight years,” she said.

Commissioner Rob Ittner wants to reserve the county’s right to consider “a small re-verification” if new information comes forward from an airline or aircraft manufacturer that could nullify the need for a runway to accommodate planes with wing spans of up to 115 feet.

Runway relocation wouldn’t be finished until midway through 2022, according to the initial schedule. And that would allow airport officials time to consider a change.

“It’s really prudent we continue to cross-check the information,” said Elwood, who recently announced he is leaving Aspen, after 13 years, to take the airport manager’s job in Jackson, Wyo.

During the next six months, outreach efforts will be designed to inform the public about the Future Air Service Planning Study, which includes redeveloping the terminal area, possibly reconfiguring the runway and considering an additional private aviation center. In July, commissioners approved $219,000 for outreach efforts.

The terminal area improvement has already been approved by the FAA as part of the airport’s 2012 master plan. It impacts circulation on the airfield, parking and the current private aviation center. The lease for the current fixed-based operator, Atlantic Aviation, expires in 2023.

After the project’s environmental assessment is complete, there’s a six-month window to study all aspects of the plan in the hopes of gaining what is known as a “FONSI” (finding of no significant impact).

“Once you have that FONSI in the process, you can start the design of the terminal,” said Ingram. Its construction could take up to four years, with completion targeted around the end of 2021.

Community input will be key to planning for a potential runway expansion that could encroach onto Owl Creek Road and the contiguous Burlingame Ranch open space parcel. Studies have determined that moving the existing runway 80 feet to the west and widening it by 150 feet could help bring the airport up to FAA standards.

Elwood said this facet is still under evaluation and will be revisited after the community has a chance to weigh in on the plan.

The expansion would also allow room for a second fixed-based operator for general aviation, which Elwood indicated would likely happen. Landmark Aviation has submitted an application, and others are anticipated.

Early estimates target the airfield expansion to cost at least $121 million.

“We have a need to share with the community what these pieces mean to us,” said Elwood. He asked commissioners to remember how important public transparency is to the process.

Ittner agreed that the public should be a part of the ongoing discussion so there are no misunderstandings. For example, it could take a year to construct a new runway but not all of the work would be done at once. Instead, the construction could be completed during offseason and night closures of the runway.

“We don’t want anyone to think a year of construction means the runway is going to be closed for a year,” said Ittner.

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Queensbury board debates limiting public comments about Floyd Bennett Memorial Airport (KGFL), Warren County, New York

Two Queensbury councilmen disputed Supervisor John Strough’s attempt to prevent public comment at Monday night’s Town Board meeting about the controversial Warren County airport runway expansion project.

“That’s not a town issue. And I want town issues only tonight,” Strough said when Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Mark Westcott attempted to speak about the airport during the “privilege of the floor” portion to the Town Board meeting, when members of the public are allowed to speak for up to four minutes each.

Westcott is a leader of Upstate New York Taxpayers Advocates, a political action committee that opposes the runway expansion project.

Strough and his predecessors, former supervisors Ron Montesi and Dan Stec, typically have opened the comment period by saying comments should be about town issues.

Third Ward Councilman Doug Irish, responding to Strough’s attempt to cut off airport comment, said public comment should be open to any topics, even national issues.

“In my mind, it’s privilege of the floor. ... I think in respect to Mark’s time, at least let him get to the issue he’s trying to talk about,” Irish said.

Second Ward Councilman Brian Clements said the public should not be restricted from speaking about any topic, provided the discussion is civil.

“Both sides of any controversy should have an opportunity to express their opinions,” he said.

Strough, who supports the runway expansion, said Westcott and other runway expansion opponents merely wanted to get publicity because Town Board meetings are televised.

He eventually did allow Westcott and three other runway expansion opponents to speak.

Westcott said the issue is a town issue because the county-owned airport is in Queensbury, and because of implications eminent domain proceedings related to the project could have on a business park that developer Victor Macri has proposed near the airport.

Strough said the runway expansion project does not prevent Macri’s project.

Strough said public comment should be made at county Board of Supervisors meetings because the county owns the airport.

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